While on my mission I can be contacted at ashley.lynch@myldsmail.net

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Monday, December 11, 2017

He Will Provide

 What a week! We saw so many amazing miracles, the Lord provided for us big time this week!

Lately a struggle we have had is helping our new investigators progress in the gospel, but this week as we followed the spirit and set goals we were able to help them!
Our friend David is doing awesome! We had a wonderful lesson this week with him and he is loving the restored gospel! He reads the Book of Mormon and feels the peace it brings. We had the chance to teach him the Plan of Salvation this week and it was so cool to see it answer some of his questions and that it made so much sense to him. We are so excited for him!

Two of our other friends, Clark and Diana are doing great! They read the Book of Mormon together and love learning. Last week we had an amazing lesson with them definitely let by the spirit and they better understand our purpose. This week we had another amazing lesson. We taught them some of God's plan for us and it made so much sense to them. AND here is a huge miracle, they accepted a baptismal date! We didn't know if they were ready for that quite yet, but the spirit told us otherwise and they were excited to accept a date! We are so so stoked for them!

Other super awesome news! Grahm had his last lesson yesterday and is getting baptized tomorrow! We could not be more excited :)

So many of our miracles this week happened during our power hours, those are the hours between 10am and 12. There were two days where we found two new investigators during those hours! 
The other day our morning started off pretty bad. There was a woman who invited us back and we were just having a normal conversation about gospel related things, but as soon as we even started to share about the restoration the situation became very contentious. It was awful, but we kept on going that morning and we found this awesome couple! They invited us in immediately and recognized that our message is what they have been looking for. They were so grateful that we knocked on their door and so were we. 
Yesterday morning was also really cool! We planned on doing service at a clothing bank outside of our area, but we forgot our phone to ask for permission so we chose to be obedient and went home to get it. And we were blessed for that obedience! A little while back our super solid investigator Ed fell off the face of the earth. Sister Holdaway had the thought to stop and see if he was home since we were driving by anyways and he was home!!!! It was awesome!

It is amazing how aware the Lord is of every detail of our lives and knows the needs of each of his children. When we have desires to follow him, are diligent and obedient he will provide.

I love you all so much! Just keep smiling!

And in case you missed my light the world posts on Facebook, here are some updates on what we have done to light people's worlds :)


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Joy and Consolation

What a crazy awesome week!!! We met a man who said he did his genealogy work and that he is related to Jesus, he also said he has died 10 times (we take everything people tell us with a grain of salt haha). We got to pass out flyers to businesses for a live nativity going on, which was a lot of fun because people were actually excited to talk to us. Wrapped some Christmas presents! We were also hugged by some guy on his porch without our consent, and gave someone a heart attack (with cut out hearts of course).
Wrapping Presents

Heart Attack
We met lots of cool people this week, Sister Holdaway is super in tune and always puts just the right streets in our plans and feels like we need to knock on the doors with the coolest people behind them. We had the most powerful Sacrament meeting Sunday, there were 5 members of the congregation who gave short talks on their favorite hymns and then we had the opportunity to sing it. There is so much power in those inspired songs. We also were able to attend a few baptisms! It was wonderful! 

We also had a fantastic Thanksgiving! We were able to spend it with a few families in our ward who we love dearly. It definitely made it feel like home which I was grateful for.
Happy Thanksgiving
On top of the collection I gave you at the beginning, there were a few particular highlights of my week that I wanted to tell you about.
First of all, the other day in a lesson with Grahm (who will be baptized next week!) we were talking about service and missionary work and a whole bunch of things. At one point Grahm said, "On my mission..." I honestly can't remember the rest because I was just too excited by the fact that he has a desire to serve a mission! It made me so happy to think that because Grahm is truly converted to the gospel and has his own testimony that he is working hard to build, he is going to go on to affect so many people and be able to share the thing that has blessed his life. I can't help but think about how the missionaries who taught my mom would feel to know that her daughter is now on a mission. They affected more lives than they could possibly realize because of their service, and the effects will keep on going!

Another highlight of my week happened today when Damian, who got baptized last month, was able to go to the temple to do baptisms for his family members who have passed on. It was a beautiful experience and I am grateful that we were able to attend with him. It is moments like those that I will treasure forever. 

I love being a missionary! I love meeting people, teaching them about the restored truths of the gospel, serving people. Above everything though, what brings me the greatest joy is seeing how the gospel changes lives when people are truly converted and apply it in their lives. I love seeing the excitement Grahm has to share the gospel, and that Damian was so excited to help his ancestors have the blessings of the gospel when they didn't have the chance in this life. It is a blessing to meet such people, who recognize the value of their newly found treasure and use it! The gospel is only worth something when we use it and apply it in our lives, when we let it change us into something better. I love this scripture in the Book of Mormon that helps us know what we must do for this change to happen.

Helaman 3:35 
"Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God."

May we all do what is required to find this joy and consolation. 
Just keep smiling!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Nothing of Consequece Happens By Coincidence

What an amazing week! It has been full of inspiring meetings and great counsel! What made them especially wonderful is that Timothy J. Dyches of the 70 presided and spoke at both our Zone Conference and Stake Conferences this week. Let me tell you a little about what I took away from them :)

Zone Conference was so powerful! The spirit was so strong and taught me a lot that day. There were many wonderful words given on how to receive and follow the guidance of the spirit, developing Christlike attributes, "treasuring up" the word of God, our purpose as missionaries, and how to improve our teaching. It was definitely like drinking from a fire hose. It made me very grateful for personal revelation, because that night as I was praying about the things I learned that day,  the Holy Ghost was able to show me a theme from all of that information:
My responsibility is to value the things that have worth to God.

That is something I felt inspired to share with you today. As I learn more and more about who I am as a child of God, His plan for us, and my potential, what is important to me changes. And let me tell ya, I am grateful for that! There are things that mean everything to our Father in Heaven, and one of the purposes of our lives is to realize what those are and learn to value them as well.  Some of these that were pointed out in the conference are:
1) Our relationship with Jesus Christ
          This life is a time to prepare to meet God, through Jesus Christ and His
          Atonement. We have the opportunity to follow His example and develop
          Christlike attributes.
2) Our own worth and potential
          When we understand our worth as a child of God and our divine
          potential, our perspective on life changes.  We will have greater
          determination to live God's commandments and follow His path for
          us. We will have a desire to endure to the end.
3) Our ability to rely on the Hoy Ghost.
          God has given us a wonderful gift of His companionship.  Seek for
          promptings and act on them!
4) The Gospel
          Treasure up the words of Christ. There is nothing worth more than these
           truths.  We each have a commission to share them!

This is what the Lord needed to teach me at this time, but definitely only a small list of the many things that matter to Him. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has given us these gifts, because He knows what will make us the most happy and successful.  His hope is that we come to understand them, act on them, and treasure them as He does. But nothing will ever happen in thought alone. Something that Elder Dyches said in Stake Conference has really stuck with me and motivated me. He said, "Nothing of consequence happens by coincidence."
God did not give us these things of great consequence by coincidence, and they will not become of worth to us by chance.

That being said, think of the things in your life that you are thankful for and value most. I would invite each of you to ponder, study out, and ask God what is important to Him. Do those lists match? 
I would assume that none of ours match as closely as they should.
Pray to your Father in Heaven to know what you can change in your life, to develop a plan to find value in the things that He treasures. I know He will answer your prayer as He has mine. Then follow that plan! 
I know that as we facilitate our own growth, not leaving anything up to chance or coincidence, God will fulfill our righteous desires.

I love you all, Just keep smiling! And have a happy Thanksgiving!
Things I am thankful for!
Fun pit stops to get AMAZING donuts!
A wonderful companion!
When it is warm enough
not to wear our winter coats!
Grahm!!!! and the Bevan's "Thanksgiving Tree"
Beautiful Ohio Sunsets

Thursday, November 16, 2017

I Love The Book of Mormon!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

There Is a Better Way

What a great week! I am loving Ohio with the changing leaves and the beauty helps me deal with how chilly it has been. Gotta love Ohio. Especially with the tornadoes. I don't think I have every been let out of church early, but this Sunday we had a tornado watch in our area and the Bishop instructed us all to go home. The Bishop's wife graciously invited us over and we had a wonderful evening with their family waiting out the storm. This has been my second tornado warning, fun stuff!

We have had some awesome experiences this week. First of all we are teaching a wonderful young man named Graham. He is good friends with a family in our ward and he has been attending church with them for over two months now. They have been working with him, sharing a lot and answering questions. He watched General Conference in their home and even bore his testimony a month ago! He is just amazing, and he told the Bevan's recently that he was ready to meet with us. He is so prepared and we have been blessed to have a few lessons with him. He loves the Book of Mormon, has such a sincere desire to learn and is on date to be baptized next month! We are so excited for him!

Another AWESOME thing. A few weeks ago a man in our ward was very excited to tell us that his friend David had accepted his invitation to come to church. Then the next week David came even though his friend wasn't there and he loved the Primary program! We have been able to talk to him when he comes and it turns out he is in our Area Book and missionaries have knocked on his door before. He seemed to be coming along nicely and his friend was very happy with his progress, then this Sunday he completely surprised us. It was fast and testimony meeting, and David went up and bore his testimony! He talked about the profound influence that members have had on him over the last 20 years and the wonderful experience coming to church has been for him. He also shared how those missionaries who knocked on his door left him with a Book of Mormon and that he ha read over half of it and has not found anything in it he does not already believe. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when he was done. That new information not only came as a surprise to us, but also his member friend who will be asking him to start meeting with us soon. I could not be more excited!

I want to tell all of you how much I love being a missionary! My greatest joy comes from helping others change their lives for the better through the gospel of Jesus Christ and giving them tools to have an ever-growing relationship with their Savior. Knowing who my Savior is and how to worship through the restored gospel brings so much peace and direction and it is truly a blessing to share that. I know that my time as a full time missionary must come to an end someday, but I find solace knowing my service and ability to share the gospel can, should, and will carry on for the rest of my life. There is a quote I love from President Gordon B. Hinckley where he says, "So many of us look upon missionary work as simply tracting. Everyone who is familiar with this work knows there is a better way. That way is through the members of the Church. Whenever there is a member who introduces an investigator, there is an immediate support system. The member bears testimony of the truth of the work. He is anxious for the happiness of his investigator friend. He becomes excited as that friend makes progress in learning the gospel.” I want to add my testimony that this is true. Sister Holdaway and have been blessed here in Piqua to be surrounded by some wonderful members who understand that.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and share boldly what you know to be true! You never know just ho much it will mean to someone or who around you is being prepared.
Just keep smiling!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Simply An Instrument

IT IS COLD! These California girls are not ready for winter. Just kidding. We got all bundled up and we we're just fine. These Ohioans in just their sweatshirts probably laugh when they see those crazy girls in skirts and winter coats, but I don't care.

Cold Out

 I will start off with probably the most awkward experience I have had so far on my mission. It was so funny. Picture this....
We are finishing up knocking on this street before we have to go to a scheduled activity, so our time isn't super flexible. We knock on this door and the sweetest lady answers with a baby on her hip and I can just feel this is going to be a great contact. In the middle of us talking, before we have a chance to get to introducing ourselves and the point of why we knocked on her door, this lady from a pest control company comes up the walk. She was obviously there for an appointment, which being on the doorstep with someone else who is expected is already awkward enough. The woman who answered the door gave a general "come on in!" and I thought "surely she can't mean us, she doesn't even know who we are." But the exterminator said "after you!" and the owner of the home nodded so we came on in. The two of them immediately walked through the house, back to where I'm assuming the exterminator needed to come look at. Sister Holdaway and I stopped at the entryway and watched them walk away. We figured the woman would come back any minute after she showed her the problem, since she still didn't even know why the two strangers standing in her foyer knocked on her door. So we waited..........and waited........................ .and waited. The whole time we could see her husband walking back and forth in the hallway giving us sideways glances, probably trying to figure out who we were and he was moving too fast for us to ever call out to him. So we kept waiting. Finally it was way past time to go to our scheduled activity and she hadn't come back so we left a sticky note with a pass along card on the inside of her door and saw ourselves out. We ran down the street to our car, laughing the whole way at how we had awkwardly stood in that strangers foyer for upwards of 20 minutes. So so awkward haha.

On to some miracles!
First of all Ed is great! We have had a few more lessons with him and he has been reading the Book of Mormon consistently. He is so sweet and has such a sincere desire to know and understand truth. He has a long way to go, but because of that desire he has we are not worried. Recently we invited him to be baptized and his response was "Yes! That's actually something I have been thinking a lot about." How cool is that?! He had a few questions and concerns though, mainly about his prosthetic leg and the logistics of getting baptized. When we assured him he would have help and that nothing like that would keep him from being baptized he just lit up. I am so grateful we met him,  which is something he has also expressed multiple times. I am so excited for Ed!

Drum roll please....... Damian was baptized this Saturday! It was a wonderful, special, emotional, and inspiring day. His family has been waiting for this for years and he was so excited and prepared. He has made a lot of changes and done a lot of work to get here. I am truly grateful to have been a part of and a witness of this phase of his journey. Because it really has been a journey. It hasn't been easy for him, but it has been amazing to see him grow into the new Damian over the few months I have known him, he is inspiring to me. Watching the ordinances of his baptism and confirmation be performed reminded me of just how much bigger this work is than me. I am simply an instrument in God's grand orchestra and I am so grateful and humbled to have this opportunity. I love being a missionary!

Have a great week and Just keep smiling!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Faith: saying "I Will" Before "I Can"

This week has been great! We have definitely seen many miracles! The first of them being that we are still alive. Just kidding. We did have a funny/freaky experience the other night. There was this really cool house we went to the other day, but no one answered so we wanted to try back when we were in the area. Well it was dark, and we had to walk down the longest driveway I have ever seen through what is basically a little forest in their front yard. Kinda creepy. It got worse when we were walking and heard all these noises from the trees. After a long time of trying to figure out what it was we see this huge dark bird sitting on a branch. Then another...and another. There were TONS of them! so we ran to the house, no answer again. As we were walking back down their drive the birds got quiet, then all of a sudden they swept off the trees in huge groups! It was crazy scary. But we made it haha

In all seriousness though, we have seen tons of miracles. On Wednesday we set a goal of finding three new investigators, it felt right but I was a little skeptical because we had two meetings, service and all of our normal studies taking up most of our day. BUT the Lord always helps us with our righteous desires and helped us, in that limited time, find three and a half investigators! The half comes from a family that doesn't know they are investigating yet, but we are totally coming back because they are such a cute little family. We knocked on the door and this little girl, probably about 6 years old, pop up in the window. She stares us down for a good 7 seconds and then opens the door. I guess she thought we looked friendly enough, so she invited us in!  We asked if her parents were home and she said her mom was in the shower, and before we could say we would come back later she says "I'll go get her!" So we waited haha and could hear them yelling back and forth "who is it?" "I don't know." She ran back and just kept talking to us, despite our many attempts to tell her we would come back later, but we couldn't just leave her standing there with the door open. She actually came out on the porch with us and was just talking away! We finally convinced her to go back inside and shut the door. We were dying, I love kids. Thank goodness her judgement was right and we were nice people. We are definitely going back.

The other morning we felt impressed to go try and see this awesome girl we met a little while ago who has a crazy schedule and we are never able to set up lessons with. Well, as soon as we parked in front of her house she came out the door! And what was even better, she had a day this week we can meet! God definitely puts us exactly where we need to be if we are willing to listen.

Last one. We had a great lesson with one of our investigators the other night. He had some concerns with baptism in the past, not understanding why he would need to be baptized again. Well, before we even started teaching in our lesson, he was excited to tell us about what he had learned from his Book of Mormon reading. He is reading 2 Nephi 31, and he gets it! He understands why it is important, that it is a commandment from God and a way we can follow the example of our Savior. He even asked us how soon he could be baptized! He definitely has a long way to go, but he has that desire now and got it from reading the scriptures!

I wanted to leave you with a thought from New Missionary Follow Up Training (which was a blast!) First off, I can't believe Sister Holdaway has been here for a month! Crazy stuff. Anyways, the training was really focused on faith and something that the spirit taught me was that faith is being able to say "I will" before "I can." There will be many times in our lives when we will be asked to do something and we won't know if we can do it based on our own knowledge or abilities, but we can exercise our faith by saying that we will do it anyways and trust that we can with the Lord's help. That is something I am learning a great deal about, and trying to put into practice more and more everyday. I am by no means perfect, but I am grateful that my Savior is and will give me strength to do all things. It is only through faith in Him and a willingness to act that we have been able to see miracles like these.

I hope you have a wonderful week, just keep smiling!
Our Districts new mascot